dotMobi starts giving away domains
If you're a city that is
Cities can apply for a free ".mobi" top level domain, assuming they're prepared to spend €2K a year promoting their site, and the domain name.
DotMobi manages the ".mobi" top level domain where content built for mobile phones can be hosted; and the organisation provides various tools for verifying and testing content to ensure it's suitable for mobile-phone viewing.
Their problem is that specialist-mobile web sites are under attack from three sides: mobile phones are getting much better at displaying proper HTML, operators such as Vodafone are optimising proper HTML for mobile-phone use, and users are starting to realise that HTML isn't the best use of a mobile phone screen anyway.
DotMobi announced back in May they had 500,000 domains registered, though a quick trawl through the registering companies reveals a suspicious number in Russia, and/or hosted from Gmail addresses, which suggests a bit of domain-name speculation is going on.
Increasing the visibility of the ".mobi" domain is essential if it's going to have any success at all, so giving domains away to cities in exchange for some mutual promotion makes sense, assuming cities feel the need for their own mobile domain.
Checking dotMobi compliance
In fact we are capable of crawling all the dotMobi domains and rating them for compliance. In the same way that we provide ad-hoc scoring at http://ready.mobi
Any 'live' sites that obviously aren't providing a good technical experience on a mobile device can be entered into a compliance process, and the site-owner is urged to improve it.
Obviously this doesn't happen as soon as the domain is registered - we're sensible enough to realise that developers should be given a chance to develop something good first.
(Hence our healthy developer community at http://dev.mobi )
HTML vs. WML
I think the point of that "new-fangled thing" called WML was for developing websites suitable for mobiles, wasn't it? I mean, small pages, quick, right to the spot, and viewable from a 5" (or less) display. My mobile banking site is an example: I can check my balance in 1 minute, tops. (Well 2 minutes b/c I'm stuck with 9.6kbps CSD)
Why would anyone want to watch a FULL webpage on a screen that small??? I mean, not even taking in mind it would take ages to download, even using EDGE.
So I'd go for .mobi sites, that actually *are* mobile sites (wml/hdml). Not those heavyweight HTML sites...
Re The Difference
The .eu TLD was supposed to be moderated too, but look at the fiasco that the .eu "landrush" turned into.
Perhaps dotMOBI learned a lesson from that debacle and vetted the registrars for .mobi somewhat better than EURid did for .eu, but dotMOBI is claiming that half a million .mobi domains have already been registered. There is no way that they could have reviewed all of those applications.